Charles Geisler is a scholar on military land grabs, a team leader in Cornell University’s Institute for the Social Sciences project on Contested Global Landscapes, and professor of Development Sociology. He says that Russia’s military annexation of Crimea is as much about labor as it is about land.
“Large-scale land acquisitions are occurring across much of the globe. Vladimir Putin just grabbed a whole country and accomplished dual land and labor needs at once. That’s real ingenuity.
“We should view Putin’s annexation as a de facto immigration strategy. Russia has an acute labor shortage but is allergic to non-Russian worker-immigrants. Just across its southern border are Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria – ‘national gray zones’ with sizeable Russian enclaves loyal to Russia.
“Putin’s immigration policy is being tested in Crimea: take Russia to its expatriates rather than bringing them to Russia. It is one of the few land grabs blessed with local approval and nationalist fervor.”
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